National Tulip Day Just Kicked Off the Growing Season in the Netherlands
Holland is famous for its tulips and for good reason. Billions of these colorful flowers will soon be in bloom, but until then, enjoying the incredible pictures from past years is the next best thing.
It might be a while before you see tulips blooming in your own garden, but in the Netherlands, tulip season is officially underway. On January 18, thousands of people gathered in Dam Square in Amsterdam to celebrate National Tulip Day and pick up a few free blooms from about 200,000 fresh tulips on display. It's an annual tradition on the third Saturday in January for Dutch growers to kick off the beginning of tulip season this way. Although Holland's famous tulip fields still have a couple months to go before they will bloom (they usually start flowering at the end of March), billions of these bulbs have started poking their green leaves above ground, which is certainly cause for celebration.
Each year, the Netherlands grows between 1.7 and 2 billion tulips, mostly for commercial production of both the bulbs and the cut flowers. It's such a breathtaking sight when all of those tulips are blooming that tourists flock from all over the world to experience it. One of the best places to go to admire all things tulips in Holland in the spring is Keukenhof, the largest flower park in the world.
Every year, more than 7 million bulbs are planted in the fall at Keukenhof, comprising about 800 different tulip varieties (and other flowers like daffodils, hyacinths, and crocuses). Everything starts blooming toward the end of March, running until mid-May. To keep things fresh, Keukenhof gives its spring display a theme, and this year, it is appropriately named World of Colors. Special events and exhibits, both indoors and out, are planned to celebrate this theme.
Individual tickets to the park are just under $20 (when converted to American dollars). Or, you can catch a group tour with tickets to Keukenhof starting at around $42—this includes a roundtrip ticket on a sightseeing bus that leaves from Amsterdam, which is about an hour away. You can also literally elevate your experience by taking a helicopter ride over the vast fields of flowers around Keukenhof, offered this year for only six days in April.
Though the world-famous tulips of the Netherlands won't begin to bloom until the end of March, looking at these gorgeous photos will give you a good idea of what's to come. And you might just want to start planning a trip to see Holland's flower-filled spring landscapes in person this year.